Sunday, May 25, 2008
Look, I love a good cookie. Now, I also love Mexican chocolate both in and out of cookies. I am a sorry addict. Sorry, in the sense that addiction is depressing, but happy, in the sense that I am winning the best-addiction contest in Westchester (I mean, some people have totally obnoxious addictions). I like to win, and I think I am. Not only because I picked the very best thing on the planet to be smitten with, but because I also have the cookie.
Mexican chocolate, do you know about this? I had a devil of a time putting my hand on the stuff. I finally dropped my baby off with my Mom, took a deep breath, knowing full well the sneering glances and suspicions before me and resolved to procure the stuff, period.
Regardless of what look crossed the snouts of our local (and perpetually nosey) state police, I was going to have to go to the "bodega" in town and seek out Mexican chocolate, among other life-defining ingredients looking low in the larder (Valentina hot sauce, dried ancho chiles, queso blanco). I fluffed my do, rechecked my Polo shirt placket was properly buttoned, brushed a bit of dust from my golf-green loafer, plunked myself down in the car and zoomed off to the bodega in my Volvo. I smiled and waved at the police seemingly everywhere in that neighborhood, maybe assuming I was there for a buy. Well, right you are, Mr. Legal Authority: I'm in a bogeda feeding my most recent addiction and stocking up on all my favorites gone-by. And anyway, it's a free country: For girls in green loafers to shop in dangerous neighborhoods. I have to do, what I have to do.
Okay, maybe I am making more controversy than there really is but I like my food to be good and a little bit dangerous.
And there, on my shelf, the Mexican chocolate sat for two months. I had to have it, and then I could not think what to do with it. In the meantime, hot chocolate season disappeared before I knew it. It came down to having to do something because the flashing indicators of being an impulsive ingredient consumer were too much for me to bear. So I opened it, and I tasted it raw as is my habit with any new ingredient. And I loved it, right from the start. Josh, not so much: He finds it too granular and sugary. He does not much care for cinnamon in his chocolate either. But he loves the cookie that came of all this nerviness, this boundless bodega-shopping spirit, this in-your-face-with-a-chocolate-bar-Copper! persona I have adopted. I am now a person who is bold and in flux and holds a cookie while I spar with the universe.
Keep your buttermilk cookies. And your deep dark flourless and butterless chocolate cookies (I mean, that's not even a cookie, I don't care who you are). And your Mexican wedding cookies. All of them are a cookie buzz-kill now.
This base recipe is that of The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl. It is as good as any cookie dough recipe you'll find. Take it from me, I know a little about eating cookies. And I am very, very fussy about the way a cookie looks, bites, and feels: A cookie should be thick and solid, like a small mountain of flavor. Cookies should not be sugar cookies, because life is too short and there are enough extracts in the market now to keep a cardboard cookie from tasting like vanilla flavored cardboard: It can taste like coconut and have lime zest! It can have ancho chili and chocolate. Wait. No! Buzz kill.
Make this cookie. Win at addiction.
Bust out best cookie you'll ever eat, Friend
Makes 3 dozen
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (yes, it needs all of it)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 3.1 oz bar of Ibarra Mexican chocolate, chopped into small chunks
1 cup pistachios, toasted
Do not preheat the oven now, you cannot cook these until they have been completely refrigerated.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt.
With a stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape downt he bowl, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beat until combined and scrape down bowl once again. Beat in flour mixture at a low speed until just evenly combined. Gently fold in both chocolates, all the powdered Mexican chocolate left on your board from cutting, the cranberries, and pistachios.
Place this bowl in the refrigerator overnight (the butter will tighten the mixture up again and make for a high, mountainous cookie).
The next day, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Drop tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake, 1 sheet at a time (I don't care what Gourmet says) until the edges of the cookie are golden. You may need to turn the cookie sheet to get even browning, check half-way through the approximate 12 minute baking time. NEVER bake a cookie to golden brown, they will be hopelessly overdone, dried out, and crunchy.